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Author Topic: A week in Scotland - final 2019 travelogue  (Read 2193 times)
grahame
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« on: December 09, 2019, 08:20:16 am »

Home, Saturday afternoon and I was planning to write up last week as a "travelogue" - after all, its probably far more relevant here (and with public transport to be compared) than our Autumn cruise.  However, time has run away with me so it's mostly pictures and a few highlight comments.

Notes I wrote yesterday to remind me to tell you about ... "Kirkwood Station, Glasgow Dropouts, Vegan Christmas Dinner, first class babies and the last day of Virgin. 205 to Paddington, and so on home."  Pictures first, text follows















































The week was spent working for our customer in Coatbridge - old software in Perl being ported across to new code (in Ruby) with a move to OO and a separation out of model, view, controller and framework.  The old Perl code is around 20k lines, and the various elements of the web application are all mixed and blended in so they are virtually inseparable, and it is virtually impossible to add enhancing features.  Data sloshes back and forth to the browser in hidden fields.  The whole thing is a miracle that it works, but it needs to be practical to move on and my project for the week was go get a structure together - framework, view, router, session system, login process and other elements to read (initially) the old data into new OO based models.  Oh - for the none-technical, the idea is that you don't have to be technical to use the system - just to code it, and even there you can have a graphic designer look after the look and feel, an expert in that field tell you what form content is needed and even adjust that a bit, and someone like me (or my replacement when I'm no longer around for this job) be able to service the code.

Up to Motherwell on the sleeper on Sunday night, 45 late at Oxenholme but spot on at 07:00 at Motherwell.  Connection, 2 stops, to Kirkwood and a 12 minute walk - there before the shutters were up in the shopping precinct across the road apart from one shop which sold me a coffee an bacon buttie to take out ... sat on the wall and waited for the customer;  poor decision - wall was only dry because the water had frozen overnight and I thawed it out ... wet bum time.

Daily commute in and out to my hotel right beside Glasgow Central.  Nearest hotel to where I was working - 3 or 4 miles and train into the city was obvious - stayed there before.  Interesting to be a Scot rail commuter, though against the main flow - looking at their revenue protection, etc.  The area around Central has a significant population of homeless people, some of whom are in a pretty poor state - "why" is a question for another day.  And my hosts in Coatbridge suggested that the hotel I stayed in was often used by ladies in the world's oldest profession - no personal experience, I hasten to add, but some interesting sights around.

Working away - training or coding - and I'm almost inevitably on my own each evening; the people have homes, families and lives and spending 9 to 5 with me is probably more than enough for them.  And as a daily thing, it's plenty for me too - for I have paperwork and interests (such as this forum!) to follow up and work with.  However, the occasional exception is gratefully received.

And so it was ... on Friday night after I had reached an appropriate check point in coding (and left something for them to try) ... I was invited to, and took up the offer, of attending their Christmas get-together.  About a mile and a half walk from my hotel, actually in Glasgow - out at Kelvingrove on Sauchiehall Street.  Never had an evening like it!  Billed as a "murder mystery" with various actors playing 4 suspects in "who killed Santa Claus" while we ate our Christmas Dinner.   And overall it was so awful and hammed up that you had to laugh or you would have cried.  Mine host was in stitches ... the group of 15 a delight to be with.  The soup was lovely, the main - well, let's just say I wished I had read that the meal was Vegan before I ordered as I would have gone for something clearly vegetable and not the mock-turkey which, sadly, was so far in taste and texture from real turkey that I wouldn't have known what it was supposed to be if I hadn't actually chosen it.  Truly an evening to remember and what a difference to the week an a wonderful memory.  Thank you, Kevin and Ishtar.

And so - homeward bound on Saturday. The final day of Virgin Trains. First class advanced ticket, and quiet from Glasgow.  Cold breakfast roll and box and coffee while still in Scotland, and a chance to sit back and do little but think for the first time in a week.  But then it "started". Starting at Penrith, and though to Warrington, we moved from a quiet train to a family carriage.  The wheelchair space at the end had three - perhaps 4 - pushchairs parked there.  In my bay (4 seat table, corridor, 2 seat table) I had the forward facing window of the 4. Joined at Penrith by a new mother and her 4 week old baby who was good as gold (and interesting to see EVERYONE who passed goo-ing over the baby and offering advise!) and then joined - Preston as I recall - by 2 adults (mum and grandma) and 4 children from aged about 2 to 10, off for the excitement of London. Tiniest was at the "walk about, fall over, scream" age.  Next one up was on playback loop of "are we nearly there". Suffice to say, I gave up any attempt to do much that needed concentration.  Yes, I've gotten to be an old "stick in the mud" and perhaps I should have made a concerted effort to have a seat in the quiet carriage, but I was rather taken from left field by the First class clientele on a Saturday.  Before members comment here - yes, they have every bit as much right as I do to book and travel first class;  I did find myself being thankful we are decades past that stage, though.

205 bus to Paddington... easy run out to Swindon where I picked something up - almost tempted by the german hot dog stand - then back to Melksham on the 15:22 - 38 on into Melksham, 14 got off and 4 on.  Not at all bad for a train that's just 45 minutes after the previous one in what is otherwise a two hourly service.

And walking home from Melksham Station, through the town centre where the "turning on the Christmas lights" celebrations were underway.  Funfair in the market place, Christmas stalls in the Assembly Hall ... and a chance to catch up with friends and chat about the station garden for next year too - MRUG volunteers to work with Melksham in Bloom to bring the whole lot together for the pride of the town.

Home (or, rather, home based) for Christmas.
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johnneyw
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2019, 11:42:25 am »

Always good to get a travel report from Mr Bryson Ellis.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2019, 11:57:51 am »

In my experience, parents/guardians with children book into 1st class for the 'quieter' journey. I make no comment as a few kids travel very quietly, some (a higher %) don't. But as Graham says - everyone is entitled to upgrade. It's when they book into the quiet carriage that irks me....should under 5s be allowed in that carriage?
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johnneyw
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2019, 12:06:30 pm »

But as Graham says - everyone is entitled to upgrade. It's when they book into the quiet carriage that irks me....should under 5s be allowed in that carriage?

Indeed the parents have that right but with rights come responsibilities.
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JontyMort
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2019, 07:57:40 pm »

But as Graham says - everyone is entitled to upgrade. It's when they book into the quiet carriage that irks me....should under 5s be allowed in that carriage?

Indeed the parents have that right but with rights come responsibilities.

Indeed. I was wondering why Glasgow-Melksham via London, rather than Cheltenham. Then I got it - Voyager.

Keep the travelogues coming, Graham - always enjoyable.
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2019, 08:56:20 pm »

Indeed. I was wondering why Glasgow-Melksham via London, rather than Cheltenham. Then I got it - Voyager.

Keep the travelogues coming, Graham - always enjoyable.

Outward and return same route ... and there's no longer a sleeper from Bristol to Glasgow.

Good thought on "Voyager" though ... trains to and from London generally seem better for some reason.
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